Issue 35, Final Fringe

The Manifold Dimensions of z (or Methuselah’s Voice-Over)

by Neil de la Flor Issue 24 09.20.2010

ACT I [The voices contained herein are self-contained and non-differentiated but are unique like crystals or fractals, which are neither unique nor practical. As you will find out, or have already discovered, Meta and I were in love and somewhat obsessed with magic and the manifold dimensions of z. This final act, which is really the first act, takes place in 2-space and 3-space, which are like parallel worlds that are unaware of the other but are layered on top of each other like minks or foxes wearing stoles and fur coats. The characters are characters. The stage is a court and the lighting is up to you. ]

Billy:     Champagne, Dear?

Meta:   Yes, Dear.

Billy:     I’m not at all hungry.

Meta:   I am, Dear.

Billy:     Will a pickle hold you over?

Meta:   Yes, Dear.

[The Boy and z enter stage right, or left, or are lowered from the ceiling. The minks are foxes wearing stoles, and the two boys are real boys insofar as two real coordinates can co-exist on the same space and time axis.]

Boy:     z, do you feel the painful wounds of history in our genes?

z:          Boy, I’m not privy to things below the ionosphere. I’m tired, my little frog. I just want to go home.

Boy:     Then why hang around?

z:          My wings are wet; slick as oil. I don’t enjoy the weather.

Boy:     Did you imagine an egg would prosper into Big Bird?

z:          And find its way into the hands of noble humans.

Boy:     who couldn’t speak without cursing to Kingdom Come?

z:          Fuck, ya’!

Boy:     z, with a little help I think we can correct the polarity of the earth.

z:          It’s possible, my friend, but the past is without solace.

Boy:     Slice me a pickle.

ACT II [The four characters converse over each other in the room that is located furthest from the audience. A Chrysler station wagon may or may not be honking in the distance.]

Billy:     Meta, dance with me. Come on, dance with me.

Meta:   I will only dance with the boy of my dreams, not you, nor little green men.

Boy:     z, are you the boy of her dreams?

z:          Boy, I am the boy of our dreams.

Boy:     Be serious with me man. Are you the boy of her dreams?

z:          Boy, why did you decide to write little play plays?

Boy:     For sea lions and subatomic things, whales and the impossible bees.

z:          For the powers that be?

Boy:     For the impossible swimming.

All:       And for the cyclopedia of ancestry.

Boy:     When I was sixteen, Meta died and left us big debts and worthless trinkets, knickknacks and things that went click clack. Dentures.

z:          Do you still have the dress you wore to Kmart?

Boy:     No, but I have her pocketbook and the pink barrettes.

ACT III [Act III takes place just before Act IV goes missing. Note: I am aware that something that is missing can't go missing until it's gone, like the boy who was lost (or will be lost again) in a future memory.]

Billy:     Meta—(exclamation mark)

Meta:   Yes, Billy.

Billy:     Meta—(exasperation mark)

Meta:   What, Billy, what do you want?

Billy:     Will you marry me? Meta, marry me now—

Meta:   Not a fucking chance, Billy.

Billy:     Hold the shovel, Meta. I have to pee. It’s Sunday.

Meta:   I know, Billy. What do you mean?

Billy:     I have to pee. That’s what I mean.

Meta:   Sometimes I sit when I pee.

Billy:     Be serious Meta, what do you mean?

Meta:   Sometimes I pee when I think about z.

Billy:     When will you be done with this whole cartography? I’m tired of z.

Meta:   When you stop digging, Billy, I will be done.

Billy:     Meticulous woman, get over your son’s bones.

Meta:   Billy, what is the nature of my cartography?

Billy:     My Dear, may I borrow your knuckles. I want bones to crush.

Meta:   Here, my Dear.

[The sound of bones crushing.]

ACT IV [This space is intentionally left speechless.]

ACT V [We've skipped Act IV because it's been said before and will be said again. (See the “Ars Magna for the Manifold Dimensions of z” and “Vireo gilvus”.) In this Act, Meta attempts one last act of resistance by converting action into language or the metempsychosis of geometry.]

z:          Craps, just like the cartographer’s map, is a vast gene pool.

Boy:     None of the above, my Little z, will make sense to pelicans.

z:          I am a pelican.

Boy:     And the scattered bones of my ancestors.

z:          The bones!

Boy:     The bones!

z:          Of pelicans?

[The sound of bones crushing.]

z:          I didn’t have a fucking chance, did I?

[Meta enters the body of the Boy and speaks for him.]

Boy:     My little z, whole transports were women and children of all ages. It wasn’t a circus or a gathering of alien spaceships.

[The Boy reenters the body of the Boy. ]

Boy:     z, listen to her.

[Meta reenters the body of the Boy.]

Boy:     z, it was the real deal and there was nothing I could do to stop them. Not even swim. It was human behavior.

Boy:     Hundreds of thousands of Billy’s fought against his manuscript. They came from the worst type—sadism.

(The audience whispers from the audience: sadism.)

Boy:     Many of us climbed onto white busses with red crosses. They locked and loaded, aimed for our heads, but it was too late. The watchmen uttered not a word, they didn’t even whisper—not even Methuselah.

[Methuselah enters stage left and enters the body of the Boy whose body is already occupied by Meta. The three of them—Methuselah, the Boy, and Meta—wear Meta's wig. Since they can't literally enter each other's body, they stand in single file. Methuselah first, Meta second, and the Boy third. They pucker and make a fish face.]

z:          And then—?

Boy:     I wish I hadn’t seen with my own eyes how my own child was killed. I wish Billy would’ve dug and dug and dug and flushed me down that fucking rabbit hole.

(Don’t say fucking, Methuselah says.)

(Fucking, Meta says, is how it felt.)

z:          And then—?

Boy:     I wished upon a stone.
             I wished upon a firing squad.
             I wished for an assortment of Icarian wings.

z:          And then—?

Boy:     With my own ears I heard my little blond boy tiptoe on the ledge of something big.

z:          You did?

Meta:   I did.

Boy:     Now let go.

Neil de la Flor

Neil de la Flor

Read More

Neil’s first collection, Almost Dorothy, won the Marsh Hawk Press Poetry prize. He is also the co-author, with Maureen Seaton, of Sinead O’Connor and Her Coat of a Thousand Bluebirds (Firewheel Editions 2011), winner of the 2010 Sentence Book Award and he also co-authored, with Maureen Seaton and Kristine Snodgrass, Facial Geometry (NeoPepper Press). His literary work, both solo and collaborative, has appeared or in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hobart Pulp, Sentence, Pank, Prairie Schooner, Court Green and other fabulous journals. He can be reached at and randomly blogs at